After 17 years of penning some of Nissan's most memorable cars, Shiro Nakamura, Nissan's maestro for pursuing cutting edge styling will retire. Nakamura-san stepping down from both senior vice president of global design and chief creative officer positions is part of Nissan's design reshuffle to promote a new generation of stylists.
Nakamura was hired by Renault-Nissan Alliance head Carlos Ghosn in 1999. That time, Ghosn was at the start of Nissan's recovery plans and got the Japanese designer from Isuzu. One significant vehicle Nakamura designed over at Isuzu was the VehiCross. Over at Nissan, Nakamura oversaw projects such as the Cube, 350Z, R35 GT-R, Murano, Qashqai, Leaf, Altima and Juke. Aside from Nissan models, Nakamura penned several Infiniti models, namely the M, FX crossover and, most recently, the Q50.
Replacing Nakamura in the senior vice president position would be Alfonso Albaisa, currently the head of Infiniti design. Prior to leading Nissan's luxury division, Albaisa ran Nissan's San Diego and European design studios. At Infiniti, he designed the new premium look seen in the QX30 and QX50. “I have big shoes to fill,” Albaisa said in an email.
The new recruit for Nissan would be Karim Habib, formerly head of design at BMW. He will be replacing Nakamura in the chief creative officer position, and will be based at Nissan's global technical and design center in Japan. In his previous position at Bavarian Motor Works, Habib was respoinsible for the design of concept and production cars such as the X1, X2 Concept and the CSL Homage. Prior to BMW, he helped Daimler design the current C-Class.
Nakamura, who still currently serves as both senior vice president and chief creative officer, will step down on March 31, 2017. Beginning the following day, Alfonso Albaisa will take over the senior vice president position. Meanwhile, Habib will join the ranks on a further date, specifically on July 1.